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Colchester Archaeological Trust

CAT Report 821: summary

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An archaeological watching brief on land adjacent to North Gate, Colchester, Essex: March 2015
by Don Shimmin
(with contributions from -)

Date report completed: July 2015
Location: land adjacent to North Gate, Colchester, Essex
Map reference(s): TL 9937 2550
File size: 1,089 kb
Project type: Archaeological watching brief
Significance of the results: neg
Keywords: modern brick foundation

Summary. An archaeological watching brief took place during the installation of an interpretation panel close to the site of the North Gate of the Roman walled town. The interpretation panel is sited roughly 4m north of the Roman town wall. The North Gate was one of six, or possibly seven, gates into the Roman walled town, providing access from the town to the River Colne and the suburbs to the north. The gate was demolished in 1823, but workmen digging a trench for an electricity cable in 1944 uncovered part of the eastern side of the gate. The interpretation panel was installed on the edge of a flowerbed, alongside a path leading from the pavement to a drinking fountain. The latter is dated 1862 and was moved from near the former Cattle Market in the late 1970s. Initially, an area of the flowerbed, measuring approximately 1.1 m north-south by 600 mm east-west, was lowered by 60-80 mm. The post-hole for the interpretation panel was then dug in the middle of this area and was approximately 250 mm square and 500 mm deep. After the panel was installed, paving slabs were laid around the base of the panel within the lowered area. The deposits encountered during the digging of the post-hole were as follows. The soil in the lowered area and in the upper 100 mm of the post-hole consisted of dark greyish-brown modern topsoil (L1). The lower 400 mm of the post hole was cut into a brick foundation (F1). This was constructed of unfrogged red bricks set in whitish mortar. The bricks were probably 19th century in date. An inn is shown in this location on the 1876 OS map, and this building, the Coach and Horses, survived until the 1960s. There was no evidence of any earlier archaeological remains and no significant archaeological finds were recovered.